12 January - 20 June 2016

Are antioxidants beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality?

A meta-analysis study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has investigated dietary intake and blood concentrations of vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids and the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality.

Diets rich in fruit and vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality. It is thought that their beneficial effects are due to them containing a number of nutrients including vitamin C, Vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids and potassium.  However studies that have reported this association, have not been entirely consistent, with some being too small.  A meta-analysis study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has investigated dietary intake and blood concentrations of vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids and the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality.

Using PubMed and Embase databases, Aune et al. searched for prospective cohort studies and nested case-control studies on the association between vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids, in the diet or measured in blood and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality. 

The team included a total of 69 prospective studies on antioxidant intake and blood concentrations of antioxidants and coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality.  Of these 69, 36 were from Europe, 24 from America, and 9 from Asia.

The team reports that they found an inverse association between dietary intake and blood concentrations of vitamin C and coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease overall, total cancer and all-cause mortality.  Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C include kiwi, berries, broccoli and peppers.  Blood concentration of vitamin C was associated with intake of fruit and vegetables especially citrus fruit and juices.  Epidemiological studies found these foods to be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and/or all-cause mortality. Dietary carotenoids, which are found in green and yellow fruits and vegetables, were inversely associated with coronary heart disease, stroke and mortality.  Blood concentrations of carotenoids were inversely associated with cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and/or all-cause mortality.  Blood concentration of lycopene was associated with tomatoes and tomato juice intake, which was inversely associated with coronary heart disease.

Aune et al report that vitamin E was not significantly associated with any outcome although blood concentrations of α-tocopherol were inversely associated with risk of stroke, total cancer and all-cause mortality.  The study states that “the inverse associations between blood concentration of vitamin C, Vitamin E, total carotenoids and β-carotene with disease and mortality endpoints were slightly stronger than for dietary intake.  However-the dose-response relations appears to be more linear or nearly linear for the blood concentrations of vitamin C, carotenoids, β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin and mortality, than for both dietary antioxidant intake in the current analysis and fruit and vegetables in our recent meta-analysis.”

The study concludes by stating “Higher dietary intake and/or blood concentrations of vitamin C, carotenoids and α-tocopherol (as markers of fruit and vegetable intake) were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality.”

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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